20 July – Week 5 Run 1 – A man, a Shovel and his Ape

Being out early meant I didn’t see any of my usual running mates. No A & A, no Mr 118 and to be honest Heinz 57 walker hasn’t been seen for a while – he could have been a tourist I suppose.

Mr Smooth did his usual cool intro, with an added ‘ This week is a bit tricky’ – so I knew I was in for fun. Slope of Hope walk was fine and then I turned into the Hill that Kills. Upside my pace was better than Wednesday’s shocker, the downside who knew 5 minutes could last a lifetime? Then my walk into Lovers’ Lane. Here it’s a national pastime to complain about infrastructure and politics, and at election time, very visible public spending occurs, so we read. Government is very localised and mayors powerful.

We have a system of comunes, which are similar to very, very local councils. One of our local council’s budgets for road maintenance in the village and surrounding roads, is 40,000 euros for the year. Which in essence, pretty much gets you a few buckets of tarmac, some gravel and a man with his Ape. No, I am not being rude about his choice of companion.

An Ape is one of those cute 3 wheeled, two stroke engine farm vehicles. We have Ape Grand Prix here, with flame painted, roll barred sharks haring around the countryside. The Ape – with an accent on the ‘e’ is so called for 2 reasons – it sounds like a bee (translates directly) and frankly it looks like one too when you see old farming couples with their harvest and shopping on the flat bed, and both their heads forced together as the cab roofline narrows, so they both have to tilt inwards.The poor old Ape struggles to get up the hills and looks just like a honeybee loaded with pollen, unsteady on its flight path.

In Lovers’ Lane, I see this summer’s road maintenance crew, a man, some tarmac on his Ape and a shovel. He fills the pothole with tarmac, bangs it down with his shovel and moves on. Then motorists are expected to drive over it to flatten it down. He’s out early and I have a feeling that this bit will stay lumpy as most of Lovers’ Lane traffic (as you can imagine from its nickname) arrives much later in the evening when the tarmac will be long hardened.

He sees me on my second walk part and says, ‘it’s hard work today’ and I say yes it is he then says ‘Piano, piano’ which means slowly, slowly. I nod and we part. Thinking about it now was he referring to his work or mine? Either way I’m glad he’s there as now there will be fewer obstacles to think about when running. Did think of taking a photo, but it seemed a bit rude, and besides which Mr Smooth hadn’t said it was photo time.

Finally the Hill that Kills beckons again and Mr Smooth tells me to visualise the finish line. Wow doesn’t that sound Olympian? So I do, but I think like many fellow Week 5ers my visualisation was a tad optimistic…

But it’s done and now 3 days off – I must run Monday, so I hope this extra-long weekend break doesn’t put me off my stride.



Enola Gay – OMD

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

Love in Itself, Dreaming of me, Just Cant Get Enough – played in succession – Depeche Mode

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Born in the USA – The Boss

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Purple Rain – Prince & the Revolution



Distance  3.96km

Time 38.11

Average Pace 9.38min/km

Originally published on Health Unlocked 20 July

This was a quick and dirty run, I didn’t have much time that day, so observations low and so too my run and cool down times. That’s a runner’s lot I guess


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